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Grant of arms to various families from 33 Elizabeth to 8 Car I inclusive chiefly by Sir William Dethick Garter King of Arms
17th century

MS 137 folio 54 recto

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MS 137 folio 54 recto
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Reproduced by kind permission of the the Provost and Fellows of The Queen's College Oxford.

Terms of use
The Queens College Oxford has graciously contributed the above images from their collections to Shakespeare Documented, and retains sole ownership of said images. The Queens College Oxford welcomes the downloading of the images for personal research purposes but prior permission must be sought from library@queens.ox.ac.uk for use of the images in any form of publication, print or electronic. A fee may be payable for such use.

Document-specific information
Title: Grant of arms to various families from 33 Elizabeth to 8 Car I inclusive chiefly by Sir William Dethick Garter King of Arms
Date: 17th century
Repository: The Queen's College Oxford, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: MS 137, fols. 54 & 222

Item Title
Grant of arms to various families from 33 Elizabeth to 8 Car I inclusive chiefly by Sir William Dethick Garter King of Arms
Item Date
17th century
Repository
The Queen's College Oxford, Oxford, UK
Call Number
MS 137, fol. 54r

MS 137 folio 54 verso

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MS 137 folio 54 verso
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by kind permission of the the Provost and Fellows of The Queen's College Oxford.

Terms of use
The Queens College Oxford has graciously contributed the above images from their collections to Shakespeare Documented, and retains sole ownership of said images. The Queens College Oxford welcomes the downloading of the images for personal research purposes but prior permission must be sought from library@queens.ox.ac.uk for use of the images in any form of publication, print or electronic. A fee may be payable for such use.

Document-specific information
Title: Grant of arms to various families from 33 Elizabeth to 8 Car I inclusive chiefly by Sir William Dethick Garter King of Arms
Date: 17th century
Repository: The Queen's College Oxford, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: MS 137, fols. 54 & 222

Item Title
Grant of arms to various families from 33 Elizabeth to 8 Car I inclusive chiefly by Sir William Dethick Garter King of Arms
Item Date
17th century
Repository
The Queen's College Oxford, Oxford, UK
Call Number
MS 137, fol. 54v

MS 137 folio 222 recto

View Image Assets
MS 137 folio 222 recto
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by kind permission of the the Provost and Fellows of The Queen's College Oxford.

Terms of use
The Queens College Oxford has graciously contributed the above images from their collections to Shakespeare Documented, and retains sole ownership of said images. The Queens College Oxford welcomes the downloading of the images for personal research purposes but prior permission must be sought from library@queens.ox.ac.uk for use of the images in any form of publication, print or electronic. A fee may be payable for such use.

Document-specific information
Title: Grant of arms to various families from 33 Elizabeth to 8 Car I inclusive chiefly by Sir William Dethick Garter King of Arms
Date: 17th century
Repository: The Queen's College Oxford, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: MS 137, fols. 54 & 222

Item Title
Grant of arms to various families from 33 Elizabeth to 8 Car I inclusive chiefly by Sir William Dethick Garter King of Arms
Item Date
17th century
Repository
The Queen's College Oxford, Oxford, UK
Call Number
MS 137 fol. 222r

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by kind permission of the the Provost and Fellows of The Queen's College Oxford.

Terms of use
The Queens College Oxford has graciously contributed the above images from their collections to Shakespeare Documented, and retains sole ownership of said images. The Queens College Oxford welcomes the downloading of the images for personal research purposes but prior permission must be sought from library@queens.ox.ac.uk for use of the images in any form of publication, print or electronic. A fee may be payable for such use.

Document-specific information
Title: Grant of arms to various families from 33 Elizabeth to 8 Car I inclusive chiefly by Sir William Dethick Garter King of Arms
Date: 17th century
Repository: The Queen's College Oxford, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: MS 137, fols. 54 & 222

This is a late 17th-century copy of the 1596 grant of arms to John Shakespeare. The copy’s text is nearly identical to the text of the second draft of the grant. Unlike the draft grants, which depict the coat of arms in trick (in pen and ink, with the colors indicated by their heraldic names), the coat of arms here is in full color. This is the only known 17th-century depiction of John Shakespeare’s arms to include the helmet with mantels and tassels (underneath the falcon crest), exactly as described in the original drafts and in this copy. It does not include the phrase “Non Sanz Droict,” which appears at the top of the drafts and is thought to be the motto.

This later copy includes text that has been obliterated in the heavily damaged second draft. In particular, it includes a phrase not in the first draft and not visible in the second draft due to damage, which specifies the type of reward received by John Shakespeare’s ancestor for his faithful and valiant service: “with lands and revenues given him.” This additional detail is carried over into the 1599 exemplification.

The copyist also struggles with an emendation to the second draft, where Dethick writes “Grandfather” directly above “antecessors,” offering more of a choice than a solution. The copyist attempts to make sense of the ambiguous word stack by writing “Grandfathers antecessors” on the third-to-last line of the first leaf. He then strikes through “antecessors” and the “s” in “Grandfathers,” and adds “antecessor” in the margin so that the phrase becomes “antecessors Grandfather.” 

In this later copy, “gent.” appears after John Shakespeare’s name the first time he is mentioned (on the fourth-to-last line of the first leaf), while in the first and second drafts, “gent.” is included only at the second mention. An odd transcription error fourteen lines from the bottom of the second leaf suggests that the copyist was not entirely familiar with the trappings of heraldry: he transcribed the word “Guidon” (a type of heraldic pennant) as “Emidon,” probably misreading the curvy majuscule, or capital letter, “G” and the two minims (short vertical strokes) of the “u” of the second draft as a majuscule “E” with a three minim “m.”

This copy of John Shakespeare’s grant appears in a volume consisting of 128 copies of grants made by William Dethick primarily between 1590 and 1599 (with several undated grants, one dated 1586, and several from the early 17th century). John Shakespeare’s grant is dated October 20, 1596. The volume once belonged to Sir Joseph Williamson (1633-1701), who left his entire library to Queen’s College, Oxford, upon his death. Williamson had acquired the heraldic papers of the Catholic antiquary Sir Thomas Shirley of St. Botolph’s Bridge (ca.1590-1654) and of Lancaster Herald William Ryley (d. 1667). Additional grants by William Dethick appear in Queen’s College, MS 138-140. The bindings on the four volumes are 17th century calf, with a central blind stamp of five flowers on the front covers. MS 140 has Williamson’s bookplate, and most have his initials on the first page. Many of the grants in MS 137 also appear in College of Arms, Vincent 157, from which the two draft grants were removed.

Modernized/Translated transcriptions

John Shakespeare  Anno 38 Elizabeth

[coat of arms]

To all & singular Noble & Gentlemen of what estate or degree, bearing Arms to whom these present shall come. William Dethick, Garter principal King of Arms, sendeth greeting. Know ye that whereas by the Authority & Ancient privileges pertaining to my office from the Queen's most excellent Majesty & by her highness's most Noble & victorious progenitors, I am to take general notice & record & to make declaration & testimony for all causes of Arms & matters of gentlemen through all her Majesty's Kingdoms, Dominions, Principalities, Isles, & Provinces, To the end that as many gentlemen, by their ancient names of families, Kindreds, and descents have & enjoy certain Ensigns & Coats. So it is very expedient in all ages, that some men for their valiant facts, magnanimity, virtues, dignities, & deserts, may use & bear such tokens & worthiness, whereby their name & good fame may be the better known & divulged, & their Children & posterity in all virtue to the service of their Prince & Country encouraged. Wherefore being solicited, & by credible report informed that John Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon in the County of Warwickshire gentleman, whose Parents & late antecessors' Grandfather, for his faithful & Valiant Service was advanced & rewarded with lands & revenues given him by the most prudent Prince King Henry the Seventh of famous memory: Sithence which time they have continued in these parts being of good reputation & credit: In Consideration of the premisses, & that the said John hath married the daughter of, & of the heirs of Robert Arden of Willingcote in the said county, Esquire, & for the encouragement of his posterity, to whom such blazon of Arms & Achievements, by the ancient customs of the laws of Arms descend. I the said Garter, principal King of Arms have Assigned, granted & confirmed, this shield or Coat of Arms: viz, Gold, on Bend Sables, a spear of the first steeled, Argent, & for his crest or Cognizance A Falcon, his wings displayed, Argent standing on a wreath of his Colors supporting a spear gold, steeled as aforesaid, set upon a helmet with mantels & tassels, as hath been accustomed, & doth more plainly appear depicted in this margent: Signifying hereby & by the Authority of my office aforesaid, ratifying that it shall be lawful for the said John Shakespeare, & for his Children, Issue & posterity, at all times & places convenient, to bear & make demonstration of the said blazon or Achievement upon their Shields, targets, Escucheons, Coats of Arms or Cognizances, Pennons, Guidons, Seals, Rings, Edifices, Buildings, Utensils, Liveries, Tombs, Monuments, or otherwise for all lawful war-like facts, or civil use or Exercises, according to the laws of Arms & customs, that to gentlemen belongeth, without let or interruption, of any other person or persons, for use or bearing the same: In witness & perpetual remembrance hereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name & fastened, the Seal of my office, endorsed with the signet of my Arms, At the office of Arms, London, the xx day of October the xxxviijth of the reign of our sovereign Lady Elizabeth by the Grace of God Queen of England France & Ireland, defender of the Faith: etc: 1596.

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[Image 1: fol. 54r]

Iohn: Shakespeare:  Anno: 38: Eliz:

[coat of arms]

To all & singular Noble & genlmen of
what estate or degree, bearing Armes
to whom theis present shall come.
William Dethicke Garter
principall King of Armes sendeth
greeting: Know ye that wheras by
the Authority & Ancient priuiledges
pertaining to my office from the
Queenes most excellent Maiestie & by her
highnes most excellent Noble & vic=
torious proginitors, I am to take gene=
rall notice & record & to make de=
claration & testimonie for all causes of Armes &
Causes matters of gentlemen through all her Maiesties
Kingdomes, Dominions, Principallities, Isles, & Pro=
vinces, To the end that as many gentlemen, by
their auncient names of families Kindreds and
descents, haue & enioy certaine Ensignes & Cottes
Soe it is very expedient in all ages, that some men
for their valiant facts, magnanimity, virtues, digni=
ties & deserts, may vse & beare such tokens &
worthines, wherby their name & good fame may
be the better knowne & divulged, & their Children
& posterity in all vertue to the seruice of their
Prince & Country encouraged. Wherfore being so=
licited, & by credible report informed that Iohn
Shakespeare of Stratford vpon Avon in the
Countie of Warwickshire gentleman, whose Parents & late
antecessors Grandfathers antecessors, for his faithfull &
Valiant Seruice was advanced & rewarded with
lands & revennewes giuen him by the most prudent
Prince

[Image 2: fol. 54v]
Prince King Henry the Seventh of famous
memory: Sithence which time they haue
continued in theis parts being of good repu=
tation & credit: In Consideration of the
premisses, & that the said Iohn, hath married
the daughter of, & of the heirws of Robert Arden
of Willingcote in the said county, Esquire, & for
the encouragement of his posterity, to whome
such blazon of Armes & Acheiuements, by the
ancient customes of the lawes of Armes descend.
I the said Garter, principall King of Armes haue
Assigned, granted & confirmed, this sheild or Cote
of Armes: viz, Gould, on Bend Sables, a speare
of the first steeled, Argent, & for his creast or Cog
nizance A Falcon, his wings displaied, Argent
standing on a wreath of his Coullors supporting a
speare gould, steeled as aforesaid, sett vpon a
helmet with mantells & tassells, as hath bin accus=
tomed, & doth more plainly appeare depicted in this
margent: Signifiing hereby & by the Authority of
my office aforesaid, ratefiing that it shall be law=
full for the said Iohn: Shackespeare, & for his
Children, Issue & posterity, at all times & places
convenient, to beare & make demonstration of the
said blazon or Atcheiuement vpon their Shildes,
targets, Escucheons, Cotes of Armes or Cognizances
Pennons Emidons, Seales, Rings, Edefices, Buildings
Vtensiles, Liueryes, Tombes, Monuments, or other=
wise for all lawfull warlike facts, or ciuill vse or
Excercises, according to the lawes of Armes & custo=
mes, that to gentlemen belongeth, without let or
interruption, of any other person or persons, for vse or
beareing the same: In witnes & perpetuall remem=
brance hereof, I haue herevnto subscribed and
my name & fastened, the Seale of my office, endorsed
with the signet of my Armes, At the office of Armes, Lon=
don the xx day of October the xxxviijth day of the raigne of
our soueraigne Lady Elizabeth by the Grace of God
Queene of England ffrance & Ireland defender of the
ffaith: &c: 1596.

Written by Heather Wolfe

Sources
William Harry Rylands, Grantees of arms named in docquets and patents to the end of the seventeenth century,in the manuscripts preserved in the British museum, the Bodleian library, Oxford, Queens college, Oxford, Gonville and Caius college, Cambridge, and elsewhere, alphabetically arranged by the late Joseph Foster. (London, 1915)

Nigel Ramsay, “Heraldic manuscripts in the Library of The Queen’s College,” Insight: The Queen’s College Library Newsletter (2:2012): 10-11. (https://www.queens.ox.ac.uk/sites/www.queens.ox.ac.uk/files/Insight2012.pdf, accessed September 19, 2017).
 

Last updated January 30, 2018